Professional student organizations can be a major part of a college student, especially a freshman, who has just started college and is finding new ways to adapt to the college culture and transition into a professional individual. Some different types of organizations that come to mind are: professional and related to your major, volunteer-based, sports, fun, social or cultural.
What these organizations aim to offer and what can be gained from them if one seriously devotes time and becomes an essential part of the organization are: hands on experience and real life exposure, strong leadership skills, effective communication and team-working skills, volunteering opportunities, influential contacts, responsibility and independence, and opportunities to participate in professional competitions and conferences as part of member benefits.
Professional international associations are a must for every business major. DECA and Enactus are good examples of these. DECA is an international association that conducts state and national level conferences (competitions) and gives its chapter members the opportunity to enact a professional situation in a real-world setting.
Enactus is another international organization that conducts regional and national competitions where members demonstrate entrepreneurial skills and find success in a project that aims to help the society in collaboration with business leaders and companies. Such organizations bring out the entrepreneurial component in students and teach them the joys of serving their community while managing a professional project at the same time.
I am a part of both DECA and Enactus. DECA has given me the opportunity to judge high school students in mock DECA Day to improve their performance at the actual conference. I am currently working on a project for Enactus at my college that helps special needs students get employed. Other organizations that host such competitions are BPA and Phi Beta Lambda.
Volunteer organizations are also the other “must-be-a-part-of” for every college student in general. Volunteer organizations like Circle K International, Infinity Lions Club, Rotary Club and Pratham offer not only volunteering hours, but also teach the joys of serving the community. It raises a sense of responsibility that makes us a better person and a responsible citizen who knows one’s surroundings. These organizations are also based on a very meaningful cause.
I am also part of the organization called Pratham. Pratham is an NGO that raises funds to help under privileged children in India with their education. What could be more satisfying than educating someone and making them independent!?
As an accounting major, I am a part of Undergraduate Accounting Club (UAC). UAC is a very good accounting club at my college. We also have the Accounting Breakfast Club at my college where accounting majors attend a breakfast meeting with various accounting firms that helps them build contacts and know how actual accounting firms work. For accounting majors, the Beta Alpha Psi is also a very essential society as it is the national accounting honors society.
Other accounting organizations are NABA, ALPFA, Ascend and Accounting Leadership Association. All of these organize professional networking events and help members gain experience in accounting and build important contacts.
VITA is a program that trains volunteers to aid low income citizens with tax filing issues. Organizations such as Toastmasters transition a person from a shy speaker to a comfortable orator. Other good organizations to join would depend on the interest of the student. There are several sports, cultural, and fraternities/sororities like Alpha Kappa Psi that help students become responsible individuals. Students can take advantage of these organizations to work on exceptional projects, enriching service opportunities, professional programs and build helpful business contacts.
Last, but not least, accounting and business majors should consider a student membership at Texas Society of CPAs. There are endless networking opportunities and lots of ways to get involved with your local chapter. Other benefits include a chance to win one of four $250 tuition/book reimbursements, CPA exam review course discounts, a monthly e-newsletter exclusively for student and candidate members, and TSCPA publications including Today’s CPA magazine. You can find more information on joining TSCPA here.